Small Favor: Butcher doesn’t let us down

Small Favor Dresden Files 10 Jim ButcherSmall Favor by Jim Butcher urban fantasy book reviewsSmall Favor by Jim Butcher

“You’re hitting the big time, Harry!” ~Bob the skull

Small Favor is book ten in the DRESDEN FILES. If you haven’t read this far, go back! You Shall Not Pass!

Harry thought his life was getting a little calmer when Karrin Murphy calls him in to look at a really weird crime scene. Soon they discover that mob boss Gentleman Johnny Marcone has been kidnapped, and this is a problem because it violates the treaty Marcone signed which made him a neutral independent state in the supernatural world. Queen Mab shows up and demands that Harry get Johnny back, which Harry must do because, several books ago, he made a promise to do her a favor.

This favor seems small, but it turns out to be the scariest and most deadly operation Harry’s ever been involved with (yet). Harry’s not sure which faction of supernaturals is responsible for Marcone’s kidnapping and the other frightening events going on around Chicago, but several groups keep showing up and causing trouble. Most bothersome are the Denarians (the fallen angels) who appear to be recruiting in Chicago.

Harry requires a lot of help from his allies, and several old enemies appear, so the cast is large in Small Favor. Butcher does a better job with his setting this time, incorporating a few well-known Chicago landmarks. One major scene takes place in the Shedd Aquarium — one of my favorite places in the city. And because Mab (the winter queen) is hanging around, Chicago is very cold, and Butcher really makes us feel this. In fact, in Small Favor Harry spends much of his time cold and wet and thinking he’s going to “black out and wake up five hundred years in the future.”

Harry is dealing with some major anger issues and his power is changing in ways he doesn’t understand, so we see his character evolving, and many of the other characters are further developed in this novel too. There are a number of epic battles in Small Favor and the ending is gut-wrenching. When you’re finished with Small Favor, you’d have to be insane not to rush out for book eleven, Turn Coat, immediately. Mr. Butcher, thanks for not letting us down! Mr. Marsters, your audio narration is marsterly. I mean, masterly!


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KAT HOOPER is a professor at the University of North Florida where she teaches neuroscience, psychology, and research methods courses. She occasionally gets paid to review scientific textbooks, but reviewing speculative fiction is much more fun. Kat lives with her husband and their children in Jacksonville Florida.

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5 comments

  1. Delightful review! Gentleman Johnny Marcone is such an interesting character; and I remember how shiveringly atmospheric this one was.

    I will be interested in what you think of Turn Coat.

    • Turn Coat wasn’t as good as the couple that came before or the ones that come after (I’m currently 1/3 of the way through Cold Days). The plot wasn’t as interesting and I actually guessed who the bad guy was early on (because Dresden dealt with that character differently). But, I still enjoyed the book — just not as much as the others.

  2. I’ve only made it through 4 or 5 books in the series. I keep meaning to get back to it…….but then you keep recommending other books…..so I’m blaming you Kat.

  3. Turn Coat is the “pivot” book, where Dresden stops being a detective and starts being a warrior mage. I have to say for me that’s probably why my interest waned a bit in a second part of this series.

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